Senior living facilities facing proposed Medicaid cuts

Published: Apr. 13, 2017 at 6:37 PM CDT
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It's been almost two years since Jack Corbin made one of the hardest decisions of his life. His wife, Shirley, suffers from Alzheimer's and was in need of around the clock care. When the time came, he chose for Shirley to live at the Davenport Lutheran Home, a senior living facility.

"It's the worst decision in the world when you've been married to someone for 62 years, it's your whole life."

While Shirley and Jack live apart, the two spend everyday together. Jack visits for breakfast and dinner each night and even assist nurses with Shirley's care. However, Jack said the care Shirley receives is costly. After paying out of pocket the first year, she now relies on Medicaid. Shelly Hopp, Administrator at the Davenport Lutheran Home, said more than 50 percent of their residents rely on Medicaid. If the American Health Care Act is passed, $880 billion dollars in Medicaid funding would be cut.

"It will be a huge impact, it will be devastating for facilities like our own who struggle," Hopp said. "The cost of labor is the driving force of our industry and with our shortage of nurses we are looking at having to pay higher and higher wages."

Officials said the proposed cuts to Medicaid are in an effort to create a spending fund to help issue block grants to states. Each state would then fund it's own Medicaid, which some believe provides added flexibility. However, if the bill is passed, Hopp said the Davenport Lutheran Home could be forced to eliminate employees and reduce the number of residents they serve. There is still no timeline on when the American Health Care Act will be voted on again